Facebook Twitter RSS

Race Preview: The Aslani


Presenting the third major race of the Aereon setting, the Aslani!

Aslani

Other Names: Leonin (after their ruling Clan), Cats (derogatory)

Summary

Aslani are large, biped felinoids standing 1.8 to 2 metres in height, and 80 to 100 kilograms in weight. They possess heightened agility, an excellent sense of balance, and slightly superior hearing and low-light vision compared to humans. They also possess four razor sharp retractable claws on each hand.

Their society is build around a pride structure, with families of two to twelves individuals led by a patriarchal leader join other families to form a Pride, and then several prides come together to form a Clan. There are several highborn Clans in Aslani society, each one possessing a single bloodline. Beneath the highborn are the lowborn Aslani, and beneath them are the slaves.

Aslani believe that all life comes from the Sun, and to continue functioning, the Sun and the other deities require sacrifices in order to continue their duties. These sacrifices are led by Aslani priests, and come in the form ritualistic sacrifices of food, animals, humans, or even other Aslani.

The Aslani are a proud and honourable people, and this makes it quite easy for an Aslani to give or take offense to another's action. This has led to the creation of rigid patterns of behaviour in order to reduce conflict and injury in the settlement of personal disputes, such as ritualistic duelling. Most non-Aslani find it difficult to understand these ritualised forms of conduct. However, many Aslani have developed a certain amount of tolerance to infringements from 'lesser' races.

Description

Second only in size to the Goliath, Aslani stand on average 1.8 to 2 metres in height, and 80 to 100 kilograms in weight, although these values vary between bloodlines. They possess characteristics similar to those seen in the giant felines of the southern continents, such as their muzzle, tail, and fur. Different highborn bloodlines can be differentiated between through variations in fur markings, which include stripes and spots of various degrees, with coats varying from golden to sandy yellow, or even white in some rare cases. Some bloodlines also possess additional identifying characteristics such as manes on the male members of Clan Leonin. Lowborn do not have any significant markings, and are usually possess simple patterns ranging from single colour, dual colour, to tabby in nature.

Similar to Fenrians, Aslani stand with a digitigrade stance. Unlike humans, the Aslani hand has only three fingers, with one opposing medially-placed thumb, all of which have retractable claws that are sharp enough to be used as weapons in combat, but slightly reduce manual dexterity. Similarly, Aslani possess only four toes on their feet, with a single metatarsal pad, and four load bearing digital pads. These too possess retractable claws, although not to the same extent as the hands. Aslani are also capable of short bursts of speed somewhat greater than that manageable by humans. Aslani are also extremely agile and possess an excellent sense of balance aided by their tails, as well as slightly superior hearing and excellent night vision compared to humans.

Aslani gestation period is approximately ten months, and are almost always single births. Twins are virtually unheard of and are almost always female. The young are born encapsulated in tough embryonic cauls, which are then cut away by the mother using a claw. Cubs mature quickly, learning to walk in only two months, and speak within five or six months. This rapid development continues throughout their lives, with Aslani cubs considered adult at fifteen years. A male Aslani is in his prime from the age of twenty to around forty, whereupon he begins to decline rapidly. Males live naturally into their sixties, while females average mid-fifties. Females outnumber males three to one.

Society

Aslani society is built around the concept of the Pride. An individual Aslani is usually part of a family of between two to twelve individuals under a patriarchal leader. This family will generally include the male family head, one or more wives, plus children and various blood relatives of the leader, including unmarried brothers and sisters, and aged individuals no longer able to maintain their own families.

Patrilineal descent is all that matters in Aslani society, with all cubs sired by a male cared for equally by all the male’s wives. A child is considered to remain part of their father’s family until they are married off (if female), or acquires territory of their own (if male), or if the father dies, in which case the territory is passed to the eldest son. As only the firstborn are seen as inheritors of the family, younger brothers (called “Second Sons”) tend to leave the family and become nomads, seeking out their own land to create a family of their own. This mentality is what has lead to the rapid expansion of the Aslani over time.

One step above the family unit is the Pride, where several families combine together with a single family as dominant. The leader of that family is the leader of the Pride. Other families owe him and his family their fealty. Above the Pride is the Clan, where several prides combine together. Again, Prides in the Clan owe fealty to the clan’s leader. The Clan’s leader is expected, in turn, to protect and provide for members of the Clan, settling disputes between Prides within the Clan and administering his holdings wisely and well. All members of a Highborn Clan are of the same patrilineal bloodline.

Roles in society tend to be gender specific, with males undertaking more physically taking roles as hunters, warriors, and the likes, while females participating in other roles. The only exception to this case is with the Royal Clan, Clan Leonin, where the males take the roles of priests, leaders and diplomats, and the females are seen as the generals and guards of the Clan. This has resulted in some resentment between Clan Leonin and the other clans, particularly Clan Raksha, who has recently started a civil war over what they perceive as a weak and incapable rulership at the hands of the Leonin.

In addition to the Family-Pride-Clan structure of Aslani society, there is also a class separation, with each Highborn Clan having several lowborn Prides under their rulership. It is a sin for a lowborn to mate with a highborn, and to do so is an instant death sentence for the lowborn (and child, if any), while the highborn is suitably prosecuted. Beneath the lowborn are the slaves, which are commonly Human. For this reason diplomats to the region are required to have a Patron Clan that will ensure their safety in the area during the stay.

Beliefs

Aslani believe that all life comes from the Sun, and that death is instrumental in the Sun’s continual revival and perpetuation of creation. Thus, Aslani have the responsibility to sacrifice themselves (or others) in order to allow life to continue. The blood of those sacrificed feeds the gods and keeps them performing their duties in sustaining creation.

It is the main role of priests to ensure that the gods are given their due in the form of offerings, ceremonies and sacrifices. Depending on the god to be placated and the ceremony being conducted these sacrifices could be simple foods and items, or animals, Humans, or even other Aslani. In addition, the priests of some gods are sometimes required to provide their own blood through self-mutilation.

Each Clan has its own patron deity. Notable deities are Ra, the personification of the Sun and the God of Kings, the head of the pantheon and patron deity to Clan Leonin males, Sehkmet, Goddess of Warriors and patron deity to Clan Leonin females, and Anubis, God of the Underworld. While Anubis is not recognised as the patron deity of any Clan, he is worshiped by the Mau (“Bad” or “Wrong”), Highborn outcasts that are born with pure black fur. They are considered cursed by the gods, and seek the end of all things. They see no need for honour and are more than happy to engage in dishonourable actions such as assassinations and spying if it favours them.

Lands and Relations

The Aslani reside on the south eastern continent of Kalrae and the surrounding islands of the region, however Aslani traders are frequently seen in the Free Cities and other major cities, selling their exotic silks and other wares from their homeland.

Currently a civil war rages between the Clan Leonin and Clan Raksha after the Raksha sought to take the throne for themselves, seeing the Leonin as weak and unworthy. Tensions also exist between the Aslani nation and Thule, with the former having made several attempts to cross the Straits of Despair and establish a foothold on the northern continent.

The Aslani are a proud and honourable people, and this makes it quite easy for an Aslani to give or take offense to another's action. As their nation has grown, and living space becomes more confined, the Aslani have developed rigid patterns of behaviour has been necessary to reduce conflict and injury in the settlement of personal disputes, such as ritualistic duelling. This struggle for dominance is so deeply embedded into the Aslan psyche that, an Aslani can no more ignore an infringement on his territory or a challenge to his authority than a human could ignore the urge to breathe. Most non-Aslani find it almost impossible to understand these ritualised form of conduct, and thus find it difficult to get along with individual Aslani. However, many Aslani, especially those that deal with other races regularly, have developed a certain amount of tolerance to infringements from 'lesser' races.


Game Information

Racial Aspect

The following things are always true about the Aslani racial aspect:
  • Aslani have superior low-light vision, and can see perfectly in situations with only minimal lighting.
  • Aslani are reknown for their amazing sense of balance, and do not suffer any penalties when dealing with situations that would require fine balance.
The Aslani racial aspect can be invoked for:
  • Aslani are naturally agile and quick. Invoke in situations that call for fast reflexes and speed.
  • Aslani are excellent social manipulators. Invoke when manipulating one or more people using words alone.
  • Aslani are known to be excellent close combat fighters. Invoke when engaging in hand to hand combat with an opponent.
The Aslani racial aspect can be compelled for:
  • Aslani are naturally proud and aloof. Compel in situations where such an attitude would be a hindrance.
  • Aslani easily give or take offense to the actions of others. Compel when such a response would be a hindrance.
  • Aslani religious beliefs are viewed by many as savage and bloodthirsty. Compel when such a view could be a hindrance.

Stunts

  • Catlike Grace: Many Aslani possess the superior agility and balance of their ancestors, granting them +2 to Athletic checks relying on either
  • Claws: All Aslani possess retractable claws, measuring up to a an inch in length in some bloodlines, which are more than capable of tearing a man in two. These claws count as a Weapon:2 for purposes of using them in combat.

Picture Source: Brynn Metheney